Dosa Hut

dosa hut

Dosa Hut is the best restaurant in Melbourne; at least it is if you have $6.50 in your pocket and a hankering for Indian street food, which neatly outlines the problem with picking “best” restaurants. It’s contextual. I hate recommending restaurants to people that I don’t know because I’ll get their context wrong with invariable certainty. Dosa Hut has the utilitarian feel of a joint built by someone whose chief skill is making dosa rather than interior design. Cheap lattice and leftover Christmas decorations spruce up the hasty mango paint job.


Above is the lamb dosa ($6.50), a pancake with a gradient from crispy on the outside edges to chewy at its core, filled with cooked ground lamb and masala. There are not less than 20 different dosa on the menu and I haven’t been in Dosa Hut once when they have had a stock of paneer, India’s favourite cheese, to make any of the three or four paneer dosa. The tray’s contents are spicy/sour tomato chutney, the ubiquitous sambar and coconut chutney. I’m still not sure how it is possible to make coconut chutney that keeps its whiteness whilst retaining chili heat.

Location: Dosa Hut, 604, Barkly Street, Footscray. Open 12:00pm to 10:00pm every day.
Phone: (03) 9687 0171

4 Ingredients

Thanks to the Twitter procrastination pipe and Ed Charles, I recently became aware of the 4 Ingredients cookbook and associated television show. After the unshakable rage and bewilderment had subsided on my first viewing, I realised that it should be me profiting from people’s inability to not only cook but select appropriate means of learning to do so, rather than a pair of nasal blondes from the Sunshine Coast.

Their recipes seem thoroughly random; the sort of thing that a 6 year old would concoct to impress a parent on their birthday, picking ingredients from what was at hand in the average middle class fridge and combining with gay abandon. Yoghurt, cornflakes and chicken, together at last.

No, seriously.

How could the public be so easily duped?

So I present to you the 4 Ingredients recipe generator.

Press reload for more recipes. Press it one hundred times to generate your own bestseller.

Press reload for more delicious 4 ingredient recipes!

Addendum: Sorry, I mixed up Ed Thomas with Ed Charles

Kebab Pizza

A few weeks ago, a Swedish friend contacted me to tell me that she couldn’t believe that we never had discussed kebab pizza. I’m sure that I had discussed both of these foods with her, but in complete isolation. Someone in Sweden has popularised the notion of combining two of the world’s disparate s into something loosely obscene but nonetheless popular in Scandinavia. The photo that I saw looked more like an actual kebab only served flat. Maybe someone in Sweden decided that kebabs needed to be shared in an equitable manner; there is no way to slice a rolled kebab once the meat is removed from the rotating platform.

Kebab pizza

Within a few days of becoming kebab-pizza aware, I discovered that a local pizza joint cooks kebab pizza without me having to con them into it on behalf of a drunken homesick Swede (above pizza).

This version is pizza base, tomato paste, lamb kebab meat, red onion and finished with a generous spray of tzatziki.

Spotted at the sacrilicious Mama Theresa’s, 587 Barkly St, Footscray, VIC, 3011 (Note, March 2011: Mama Theresa’s is now closed. No kebab pizza for you.)

Update: How to get from Kep to Phu Quoc in a day

Sunset at Kep
Sunset at Kep

Reader Paul mentions that the ferry from Ha Tien to Phu Quoc is now running, with confirmation from Phearak. Getting between two of Indochina’s laziest beach destinations has just become all the more lazier.

The route can now be organised through Sok Lim Tours and is cheaper than the way that I got from Kep to Phu Quoc.

In other Cambodia-related news, I’ll be back there for a short trip soon, so I might just take Phnomenon out of the garage for a short spin.

The Long Shot

Austin Bush and I have been throwing around ideas for new projects for a while but the one that that seems to have most resonance is chasing down regional Thai food. Sure, there’s Thai food cookbooks aplenty, but few (if any) that contextualise Thai food into regions. There’s a competition on at the moment, throwing around money at a photo comp that could fund such a project.

It’s a long shot (and probably the most unconventional of means of funding food writing and photography), but it’s worth a try.

One Food Blogger per 120,000 Australians

I updated my list of Australian food bloggers and in my post-work statistical analysis haze, I pulled out Excel. There are 176 blogs in my list, broken down as follows:

State No. of Blogs
WA 12
NSW 43
SA 7
VIC 82
QLD 16
ACT 11
Tas 5
NT 0

As percentages, the results seem pretty obvious: food-obsessed Melburnians creating the bulk of the food blogs followed by NSW and the other smaller states lagging behind.

food bloggers by state

But then we haven’t adjusted for population differences.

food bloggers per inhabitant

The surprise: in the ACT there is one food blogger per 30,983 inhabitants, the clear leaders when it comes to producing food bloggers. NSW and WA produce food bloggers at roughly the same rate (one per 161,092 people and one per 177,566 people respectively).

If you write a food blog in Australia, you’re one in 120,330 people.

If you’re missing from the list, let me know.

Rotisserie = home

Rotisserie chicken

I’ve moved into the house of an expatriate Slovenian bootlegger and as soon as I’ve set up a rotisserie, it feels like home again.

If there is a single item of cookware that I could be trapped with on a desert island, it would be the rotisserie, although only if there was an indigenous chicken or lamb population. Cooking a whole chicken any other way cheats you of pleasure. The above chicken was rubbed with salt, ground cumin and pepper. There is no recipe, just add any quantity of those two spices and mineral together, rub it on a plump dead chicken and rotate the chicken over fire.

There’s been multiple posts of late rueing the mutual slump in food blogging mojo in Australia. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been renovating a house and the only thing less entertaining than manual labour is having someone tell you about manual labour in great detail when you’re expecting some sort of food narrative. How home renovation manages to survive as a genre of television is bewildering to me. Then again, it’s not as if I’ve been posting frequently or in depth at in the preceding months.

So what has happened to Australian food blogging? Is it part of a wider trend or just the people whom I read? Is the smoke haze affecting the food? Financial crisis? I wrote about food blogging being dead at the start last year but maybe it is actually coming to fruition.